“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.” So true, isn’t it? Songkran festival of Thailand is celebrated to wash off the negativity from life and the surroundings.
This festival is a national holiday in Thailand. It is a traditional Buddhist festival that marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Songkran festival, also called the water festival will be celebrated from 13th to 16th April in 2019.
People generally celebrate this festival as a family gathering. They usually prefer going back to their hometowns to celebrate the Songkran festival with their relatives. Visiting Thailand during this period can be fun. And at the same time, you get to cleanse your sins and purify your soul.
But in order to travel in this rush period in Thailand, booking your private ground transportation can help you avoid getting angry waiting for your number in the taxi queue. After all, Songkran is about washing away the bitterness. So, why not let the awesome chauffeur service put a smile on your face!
Are you thinking why the Thai New Year is called Songkran? There are many exciting facts behind the celebration of water festival. Let’s discuss the fun things.
Origin of word Songkran
The word Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Sankranti’ which means ‘shift’ or ‘movement’. Traditionally, it was computed by the royal astrologers based on the ‘Suryarat’, a Thai version of ‘Surya Siddhanta’. Thai people celebrate Songkran festival when the sun moves from Pisces to Aries in the zodiac. The celebration covers a period of three days. They are Songkran Day, Wan Nao and Thai New Year Day.
Interesting story behind Songkran Festival
There is a mythological legend associated with this festival. According to Buddhist scriptures in Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Songkran originated from the death of ‘Kabil Phrom’. Long ago, there was a childless rich man. He was taunted by his drunkard neighbour who had two sons. The rich man worshiped Sun and Moon Gods to grant him a son. One day, during the Songkran Festival the rich man went to a Banyan tree situated at the bank of a river. He washed the rice seven times in water before it was cooked for worshipping the Tree God and some music was played while he was asking God to bless him with a son. The Tree God was pleased. And asked Lord Indra to bless him with a son. Indra ordered Dharmapala to be conceived in the womb the rich man’s wife. She gave birth to a son and he was called Dharmapalakumar. The rich man built a seven-floor castle that was situated under the Banyan tree for his son. His son studied the Vedas and could even understand the languages of birds. At the age of seven, he was a teacher who blessed the people.
One day, Kabil Phrom (God Kapil Brahma) asked Dharmapalakumar three riddles. The loser would get his head chopped off. The riddles were: Where is a person’s aura (Sri) in the morning ?. Where is a person’s aura in the afternoon? Where is a person’s aura in the evening? Dharmapalakumar asked for seven days time to answer the riddles.
Six days passed by, but Dharmapalakumar couldn’t find an answer. He went to lay down under palmyra trees. He heard an eagle couple talking. The female eagle asked her husband, “What will we eat tomorrow?” The husband said, “We will eat the dead body of Dharmapalakumar as he will be killed by Kabil Phrom because he will not be able to answer the riddles.”
She asked her husband for the answers. He answered, “In the morning a person’s aura is on the face because human beings use water to wash their face in the morning. In the afternoon, a person’s aura is on the chest because human beings apply scented water on their chests and a person’s aura is at the feet in the evening because all human beings use water to wash their feet before they go to bed.”
Dharmapalakumar heard these answers and went back to his castle. Next day, he could answer all the riddles. Kabil Phrom called his seven daughters who were the maid-servants of Indra. He told them that he would cut off his own head. But, if his head fell on the earth, there would be a huge blaze in the universe. If it was thrown in the air, there would be a universal drought. If it fell into the sea, the sea would dry up. So, he ordered his seven daughters to bring a golden vessel to receive his head. The eldest daughter took the head and carried it in the procession with other gods and goddesses circulating around Mount Meru for 60 minutes and then enshrined it in a cave of Mount Kailash.
From that day, the gods and goddesses carry Kabil Phrom’s head in the procession to celebrate the Songkran Day or the typical Thai New Year’s Day when 365 days are completed. The seven goddesses take turns in carrying Kabil Phrom’s head in the procession circulating around Sumeru Mountain every year and return to heaven.
Here is how the three days of water festival are celebrated:
Songkran Day (Maha Songkran)
The first day of the water festival is celebrated as Songkran Day. There are processions of Lord Buddha’s images throughout the country. The Thai people prepare for this day by cleaning their houses. Mostly, the water throwing starts on April 13th. Water is an important element of Songkran. Recently, the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebration. People roam around throwing buckets of water and splashing water on anyone in the vicinity.
New Year’s Eve (Wan Nao)
Wan Nao is the celebration of the Thai New Year’s Eve. It is celebrated on April 14th when the sun travels between Pisces and Aries. The formal rituals of Songkran are followed on Wan Nao.
Thai people visit their local temples to make merit and pour scented rose water on the Buddha images and hands of their elders. These activities are done in order to receive blessings and good luck for the new year. Some families also pray and make merit for their dead ancestors. They even build sand “chedis”(miniature Buddhist temples). Some people build very basic “chedis”, however, a few others walk that extra mile to build spectacular “chedis” decorated with flowers and colourful pebbles. Coins are buried in “chedis” for good luck.
Thai New Year’s Day (Wan Thaloeng Sok)
Thai New Year is celebrated on April 15th which is the final day of the Songkran festival celebration. People leave offerings at temples on this day to ring in the New Year. There are many other events in every part of the country. In big cities, people get down on the streets.
Popular places to visit for Songkran in your chauffeur cars
In cities like Bangkok, you can find many street parties and water fights. The most famous street party in Bangkok is called Silom. The party is on the street that is over 4 kilometres in length. It is a huge party in which thousands of people have water fights.
Khao San road is another good place to celebrate your Songkran in Bangkok.
Another fun place is the Phuket town where the water fights start in the morning and continue till late night at Patong, Kata, and Karon. It becomes wild on the Bangla road at night. TripCenter has many luxury car options like Chevrolet-Cruze, Fortuner and Toyota Vios to take you to your choice of destination.
Sounds fun, isn’t it? What are you waiting for? Just pack your bags and get your chauffeur service pre-booked to enjoy Songkran with your family and friends! As they say in Thai “Suk San Wan Songkran” which means Happy Songkran Day!